Social Media Usage in the University at Buffalo Libraries


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Presented to DMS 415, Social Web Media class at the University at Buffalo on November 30, 2010.

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  • My job consists of a lot of things: reference, one-on-one consultations and teaching classes on how to use the libraries’ and their resources, purchasing materials for the collections, etc. One portion of my job is to also create and maintain our social media presence. I began this process in 2008 with a page on Facebook. In 2009 I began to use Twitter
  • Show of hands, how many of you use a social media tool regularly? How many of you have a success story related to that tool? Please share.
    I have been a social media user personally from the very beginning. Began using Twitter and Facebook in 2007. Found a lot of positive reasons for using it: build relationships, share ideas and collaborate with others who I never would have met, find information by following people of similar interests. I was invited to present at a conference because of Twitter.
    For Libraries: Started as a trial project. Put up a Facebook Page in January 2008. First month = 36 fans, mostly library staff, second month 100 fans, continuously grew from there. Today we’re between 600-700 fans. We’ll talk more about this in a bit. Basically, it was a way to meet users outside of our web site. Find them elsewhere and bring them back to the site and our buildings. Outreach tool. Marketing tool. After such success with Facebook, we began using Twitter in 2009. This was a way to feed all library news out to users, the media, etc. The sites were co-managed by myself and another colleague until August 2010. It’s now only myself. After we began using the accounts, we found that not only was social media (specifically Twitter) good for pushing content, but also to learn about our users and their needs.
  • What is SWOT? Strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strenght, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or business venture.
    Our objective: increase traffic to our web sites that are buried and content is not easily accessible. Promote the value of the academic library to our community.
    Strengths – characteristics that give UB Libraries an advantage over other libraries that want to begin a social media presence.
    Weaknesses – characteristics that give UB Libraries a disadvantage over other libraries with social media presence
    Opportunities – external chances to make profit (What we will gain)
    Threats – elements in the social media environment that could cause threats
    You want to convert the weaknesses and threats into strenghts and opportunities. With the threat of transparency, that allowed us to know what our users were saying about us and open a new outlet for them to talk to us and share concerns. Monitoring eventually gets easier when you have the right tools in place. We learned what to use to monitor it and so far it’s working for us. ROI tools – we began to use Google Analytics in 2009 and are able to see if users are coming to us from Twitter, Facebook, etc. also if our traffic has increased to sites promoted.
  • A lot of our content is buried, and not getting to our users, so we use social media tools to push the content out and bring users back to our web site and facilities. Blogs are one of the most important parts of our social media presence. This is where we publish the content. We then feed the content from the blogs out to social media sites. There are lots of blogs throughout the Libraries, but the content that we push from are our Library News, Library Alerts, and Student Support blogs. These carry information valuable for all of our users, rather than say blogs related to only Health Sciences research, etc.
    Another nice thing about the blogs is that they opened up a dialogue between us and our patrons. On pages that used to be static, we now are able to update content regularly with easy publishing tools such as WordPress. We also have comments available so that our users can post feedback and additional information and start a conversation if desired. Comments are moderated, so they are not published until approved by an administrator.
  • Facebook was one of the first places that we began to explore in regards to a social media presence. How many of you are familiar with Pages on Facebook? Pages are meant for businesses and organizations to have a presence. To create a page, one must have a personal account on Facebook. Pages can have numerous administrators (people with authority to monitor and share content).
    Pages are accessible outside of Facebook. Therefore, they can be found while searching the Web. Most of the information is open so that the public can see the content without having to be logged in to a Facebook account. If people want to receive updates to new information posted to a page, they need to log in and become a fan -- click the LIKE button on the page. When someone likes the page, information posted to the admin is automatically shared in that users news feed when they log in. In addition, admins can share info by sending messages to users inboxes. Both of these options can be opted out by the user if they wish.
  • Information tab allows you to post hours, directions, web site info, contact info, etc.
    Notes are a way to write a message to post to your wall. When you publish a note, the content is sent to fans. It is also viewable on the Wall of your page for visitors to see. Notes can also be fed from other places via RSS. RSS is a tool that allows you to share information by pushing it from one site to another when it is published. For example, these notes are originally blog posts from our web site. When we publish to our web site, the content automatically also updates to the Facebook page.
    Discussion boards are available to set up. Topics can be started by users or admins. Since our page is more for pushing information, discussion boards haven’t been a big tool for us.
    Photos and videos can be added by admins or users. Admins can also choose whether or not they want users to be able to post these items.
    Fans are people who clicked the “Like” on the page. This allows them to receive updates when new information is posted to the page (or being sent directly to their inbox by the admin)
  • Data is aggregated daily. Facebook Insights provides Facebook Page owners and Facebook Platform developers with metrics around their content. By understanding and analyzing trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content, Page owners and Platform developers are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook. Insights are a free service and only viewable by account administrators.
  • Impressions is the number of times a post has been viewed, anywhere on Facebook. It could be seen on your wall or other people’s own walls. Analytics in Facebook are not as great as they could be, there is still a lot that we don’t know. However, the data is useful for keeping track of the time of day people are looking at the page and also what posts get the most interaction. Posts about how to find a topic are very popular. Our book of the month posts are pretty popular.
    Post impressions is a count of how many times individual posts have been seen throughout Facebook (on your wall or on people's own walls). It gives you a much better picture of the real impact of each individual post. Now you can compare impressions with the number of interactions each post gets.
  • What is it? How are businesses using it? How are the UB Libraries using it?
    Twitter is a social networking and microblogging web site. Micro blogging is blogging in less than 140 characters. We use Twitter to feed out information about the libraries. Create and account, follow other people. When you follow other accounts, the content that they post is published in your news feed. When you log-in, you see the most recent content.
  • Our content is being pushed from our blogs using a tool called Twitter feed. Every time information is published to a blog, it automatically publishes to Twitter. This way, I don’t have to look for when new content is published, or log-in to publish it.
  • Tweetdeck is one of many tools that you can use to manage your social media accounts. Tweetdeck allows me to keep this desktop client open and monitor our account throughout the day. when people retweet (when we post something, they repost it on their own page because they thought it was valuable information), I can see that on the Mention column in Tweetdeck. I can also monitor other UB accounts for posts they they make. This has been great for sharing information across disciplines, services, and departments on campus. (And sharing what we do with others!) Direct messages are private messages sent to our account or that we sent out to other’s twitter accounts. We always thank a person for following us. Direct messages can only be sent if you are following one another’s account.
  • Available at, you can use this search tool to monitor what is being said about your business/company on Twitter. Set up RSS alerts for various searches: ub library, library capen, library silverman, lockwood library, etc. and the results will be in your RSS feed reader as they are posted. Monitor likes/dislikes about business, needs of users, etc. Respond back when necessary.
  • RSS – technology used to share content. Stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. Aggregators and readers available (web-based or desktop tools) that let you read news feeds of most current information posted to sites that you subscribe to. You can set up alerts for various terms being mentioned in Tweets and then have those delivered to you when they are published. This is how companies learn about what is being said and then in return try to offer good customer service by having a conversation with the consumer. For us we watch for issues with the library, user needs that aren’t being met, information that we have not posted well enough, etc. At one point set up searches for people looking for help with research papers.
  • Facebook Insights, Comments and trackbacks on blogs, Retweets on Twitter, Google Analytics
  • Google Analytics shows you how people found your site, how they explored it, and how you can enhance their visitor experience. With this information, you can improve your website return on investment, increase conversions, and make more money on the web.
    Google Analytics are free to use. You can see what keywords users are searching on the web to get to your site. How much time they spend on a particular page (did they leave quickly? Why?), where are they coming from? Direct referrals, other web pages, etc. What content has the most hits?
    We can track if users are coming back to our site from Facebook, Twitter, etc. Facebook right now drives back more traffic than Twitter. We have seen increase in traffic to various web pages.
    Bounce Rate = It’s when a person left the site from the entrance (landing) page.
  • Social Media Usage in the University at Buffalo Libraries

    1. 1. Bridget Schumacher Senior Assistant Librarian November 30, 2010 Social Media Usage in the University at Buffalo Libraries
    2. 2. Agenda • Introduction • Background – Why? • Tools – What? How? • Evaluation & Assessment • Comments & Questions
    4. 4. BACKGROUND Why did the UB Libraries begin to use social media?
    5. 5. SWOT Analysis for Social Media • STRENGTHS • Support, Expertise, Audience • WEAKNESSES • ROI tools, Time for Monitoring • OPPORTUNITIES • Outreach, Marketing, New Users, User Needs • THREATS • Transparency, Failure
    6. 6. TOOLS What tools are the UB Libraries using? How are they being used?
    7. 7. Blogs
    8. 8. Pages on Facebook •For businesses, organizations, etc. •Free to create •Visible outside of Facebook •Push content to fans
    9. 9. Basic Features •Information •Notes •Discussion Board •Photos •Videos •Fans (“likes”)
    10. 10. Facebook Insights
    11. 11. Twitter
    12. 12. Twitter (logged-in view)
    13. 13. Twitterfeed
    14. 14. Tweetdeck
    15. 15. Twitter Search
    16. 16. Monitoring Twitter with RSS
    17. 17. EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT Is it working? How do you know?
    18. 18. Google Analytics
    19. 19. Google Analytics
    20. 20. QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? Bridget Schumacher,